Have you ever found yourself dreaming of a real pilgrimage? Perhaps the best known in Europe, if not in the whole world, which would be Camino de Santiago, in English known as the Way of St. James?
Here’s a fun fact for you: I bet you didn’t know that the furthest part of Camino de Santiago trail ends in Finland. It goes along the ancient road, Hämeen Härkätie, and ends to a church in the small town of Renko.
While you can only dream about taking months for a single trek, pilgrimage or not, a short walk to a medieval monastery might give you a glimpse of that inner peace that we often seek from long hikes.
Especially if your trekking destination is Santuari del Puig de Maria, an old but beautiful monastery and chapel above the clouds and roofs of Pollensa in Northern Mallorca.
The cobblestoned trail starts on the South-East side of the town of Pollensa winding its way towards the top of a small mountain. The path is surrounded by forested nature and decorated with stunning mountain views.
On this trail, you might meet an elderly couple with backpacks and walking sticks or a small group of children screaming of joy. Most likely you won’t find any other hiker, but a purring cat or two and a few goats standing still chewing grass on the side of the path.
It’s good to schedule some 45 minutes for calm-paced climbing. There’s no reason to hurry as you want to take in all the surrounding beauty, breath by breath. What you should know before the hike is to prepare with proper shoes, sneakers or trekking shoes. The climb itself isn’t too challenging, meaning you won’t need years of extreme hiking experience, but the cobblestones feel slippery even in dry weather, let alone in rain or sleet.
During our short afternoon hike, we got to experience the stones in all three weather.
Besides, the mysterious nature around the trail deserves all your attention. The residents of this mountain, cats and goats, are only one thing to keep an eye on. But you might want to look around for hidden caves that seem to continue very deep inside the mountain, perhaps all the way to the monastery. We almost missed it entirely, as it was so well hidden by the leafy branches, even if it stands right next to the trail.
Who knows, maybe Pollensa’s Puig de Maria hides more adventurous caves that the one we found?
Hostel like a monastery
At the end of the winding, bumpy and slippery trail stands the medieval stone building in the height of 330 metres. The chapel was built in 1348, and 14 years later the monastery was added to it. Nuns were living and worshipping in the monastery until 1576 when they were told to resettle to the capital of the island, Palma de Mallorca.
The beautiful, small chapel is still standing inside the monastery that’s today hosting a restaurant and a hostel. It seems like the perfect place for escaping the hectic life with a very affordable price; you can book a double room with only 20 euros or so.
If you do, you shouldn’t expect for any type of luxury. Wifi is unknown here, which you can probably guess anyway once you find out that this hostel has no website or an account in Booking.com. The only ways to book a room is to hike all the way to the top of the moment or if you want to be sure to get the room, call in advance to (+34) 971 184 132.
In case you prefer peace, not being available, authentic Mallorquin food and breathtaking mountain views decorated by the sparkling Mediterranean Sea over 5-star luxury, Puig de Maria monastery might indeed be your place to stay in Pollensa.
How to reach Puig de Maria monastery in Pollensa?
If you’re driving, the starting point of the Puig de Maria trail is well marked on the road Ma-2200. I’ve read that many hikers leave their car at the Repsol petrol station that stands at the edge of the town. If you take the turning from the main road towards the mountain, you have equal chances to find a parking spot for your car as you have to get stuck on the narrow winding road between the parked and oncoming cars.
Even if you started your hike from the town of Pollensa, it wouldn’t make your journey much longer. It’s also good to know that the trail isn’t lit, so in case you stay at the monastery until late, you might want to equip yourself with a flashlight.
Staying at the top of the mountain until sunset doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I can only imagine how the sun disappearing on the horizon would look from the wall of Puig de Maria monastery. During my visit, the sky was covered with clouds, but the street lights of Pollensa in the dimming night painted a lovely picture.
The hike to Santuari Puig de Maria isn’t quite comparable with Camino de Santiago pilgrim route, but it sure has an enigmatic and graceful impact in the middle of the busy and hectic world we live in.